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Qeshm Population: 99,000

The largest island in the Persian Gulf at 1335 sq km, Qeshm boasts attractive beaches bounding an arid, sun-scorched interior of starkly beautiful hills and mountains. The coast is dotted with Bandari villages but the interior is largely deserted. Qeshm is a duty-free zone – a sort of poor person’s Kish – but in a Gulf increasingly full of gleaming skyscrapers it remains refreshingly attached to the traditional Bandari ways.

Qeshm Town is developing pretty quickly. But elsewhere you can still visit boat-building yards turning out lenges, the large wooden cargo boats that have criss-crossed the Gulf for centuries. Fishing villages don’t come much more traditional than Laft, with its supremely photogenic forest of badgirs.

The west of the island has been declared Qeshm Geopark in recognition of the quite stunning geology, which includes the world’s longest known salt cave. Qeshm seems destined to grow quickly as a tourist destination, but for now it feels untouched enough to reward the intrepid.

  • Qeshm


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